We reported that Katie Couric, the executive producer and narrator of the Epix-distributed documentary “Under the Gun” has apologized for what the Washington Post is calling a “deliberate and deceptive edit that makes a group of gun rights advocates look like dumbfounded dolts.”
The person who hasn’t apologized, as the Post story points out, is Stephanie Soechtig, the director of the film and the person who has admitted to actually performing the edit (Couric later approved it), even though her reason for replacing several answers to a question about background checks with an alternate take of silence is, at best, ludicrous.
“My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way,” Soechtig said in a statement last week, but she has yet to apologize for making the edit, despite Couric’s assertion that the edit was “misleading.”
You can see a clip of the edit and a transcript of the actual answers that were replaced with silence here.
In an interview with NBC4’s Mark Segraves on DCW50, Soechtig said, “At that particular time, Katie is asking this group of people…’If you don’t have background checks, how do you keep people on the terror watchlist from getting guns?’ And this is a real pivotal moment in the film, it’s one of our main storylines. And I thought it was really important to stop down at this moment. And she’s asking the question of the group, but as a filmmaker, I wanted to ask the question of the audience. And, you know, I think the idea that the focus has been on this very typical of gun lobby tactics. They’re trying to intimidate us; we won’t be intimidated.”
Last week, we reported that the news organization NPR said of the editing debacle, “This manipulation—and that’s what it was—would not pass muster at NPR under its principles for fairness in handling interviews.” NPR is hardly a shill of the gun lobby.
Clearly Soechtig is determined to blame the gun lobby and the NRA for the misleading piece of what was billed as a fair and balanced documentary and told Variety that the VCDL should be grateful to have even been allowed to appear in the documentary.
In the Variety story, Soechtig said, “The focus on this exchange shouldn’t overshadow the fact that the film gave the VCDL a platform to express their views and opinion…I wanted to allow them an opportunity to explain their beliefs. In hindsight, had I known that the NRA would focus on eight seconds of a two-hour film, I might have done things differently. But I made the creative decision and I stand by it.”
As many have pointed out, Soechtig doesn’t seem to realize that the revelation of the erroneous edit calls into question the credibility of the entire film and every assertion it makes, not only eight seconds.